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8 Energizing poses to wake up even the latest night owls.
“Rather than setting your alarm clock 90 minutes earlier than usual, start by taking baby steps,” they suggest. “Perhaps a 5:30 a.m. wake-up time will never fit your lifestyle, but a 6:30 a.m. wake-up time may be palatable and sustainable. Even 30 minutes is enough time to set a daily intention, take a few deep breaths, stretch the body, raise the heart rate, and start each morning feeling peaceful and accomplished.”
After a few rounds of Sun Salutations, perform this core-strengthening Good Morning Flow to really fire up the leg muscles, stretch the body, and break a sweat in a short period of time. Once you are familiar with each of the poses and can hold each pose for 5 full breaths, repeat the sequence at a faster pace. Remember to repeat the sequence on both sides of the body.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Start your morning in Downward-Facing Dog, a great stretch to gently awaken the body. If you feel stiff, don’t force your heels to the ground.
Three-Legged Dog, variation
Intensify your Downward-Facing Dog stretch by extending one leg high into the air. Remember to keep the top foot flexed and pointing down toward the ground for the most effective hamstring stretch in bottom leg.
Time to fire up the core. From Three-Legged Dog, bring the right knee to the right tricep and hold. Return to Three-Legged Dog, then repeat the sequence by bringing the knee to the nose (and back to Three-Legged Dog) and then to the left tricep.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Stand strong like a warrior in this fundamental yoga pose that requires strength in the legs and flexibility in the hip flexors. Enjoy the challenge of bending deeply into the front knee while building the flexibility to square the hips with the front of the mat. Hold this pose for 5 deep breaths.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Here’s another warrior pose to energize your leg muscles and train your ability to find stillness on your mat. Back-to-back warrior poses should remove all remnants of sleepiness from your system.
Keep your legs in the strong Warrior II position, but add a side stretch to open up the intercostal muscles, which run between the ribs.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
After stretching one side of your body in Reverse Warrior, stretch the other side, too, with this modified version of Side Angle Pose. While the full expression of the pose brings the fingertips to the floor, this less intense modification allows the forearm to rest on the front thigh.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Triangle Pose will feel like a welcome relief after holding so many strong bent-leg poses. Enjoy the stretch. Remember to repeat this sequence on the other side before you start your day.